At a critical moment for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who arrived in the country as children, a group of moderate Republicans has come out in favor of a solution, even if it means forcing the vote in the House of Representatives.
Representatives Will Hurd of Texas, Jeff Denham of California and Carlos Curbelo of Florida have spearheaded efforts to get a "discharge petition" signed, a strategy to "circumvent the Republican leadership" and get four different immigration proposals to the House floor as early as June 25, reported Politifact.
According to Public Integrity, two Republican representatives from California have set the tone in the party’s internal dispute, in what many see as the first consequence of the midterm elections.
"On one side, there is GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, Calif., who came out in opposition to the petition drive. With 218 signatures, a petition can force House leadership to allow the members to vote on bills even if leadership has resisted allowing a procedure," explained Public Integrity. "On the other side is Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock, Calif., who announced on Thursday that Republicans are trying to avert a clash over the petition. He said that the Republicans want to come up with a deal in 24 hours that could lead the votes on various pieces of legislation related to Dreamers."
For McCarthy, the effort of his colleagues to achieve the vote on the proposals "could cost the party its House majority, and empower Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi," POLITICO reported.
Some conservative Republicans remain skeptical of the possibility of passing the petition. For example, Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus said that, even if they could get the necessary signatures, "I don’t think it will ever come to fruition. There’s too many procedural ways you can stop it from happening."
However, and despite McCarthy's warnings, two more Republicans joined the petition—John Katko of New York and David Trott of Michigan—leaving the petition only two signatures away.
The request of the centrist Republicans emerged last week, after several of them "bucked Speaker Paul Ryan’s team," presenting a request for a forced vote on several immigration proposals. The motion needs 218 signatures, of which they own 213 that include 23 Republicans and the rest Democrats, explained the Los Angeles Times.
Of the four proposals, one would be chosen by Ryan; another would be the proposal by Representative Bob Goodlatte—considered by the Democrats to be "a way for mass deportation" even when it contemplates granting Dreamers a "non-immigrant" status for three years in exchange for the construction of the border wall—and two other proposals that would give young people the opportunity to stay permanently in the country, one of which includes border security.
Even if the petition gets the 218 signatures, it is unlikely that the Republican majority will allow any proposal to pass, leaving the future of the more than 800,000 Dreamers in perennial uncertainty.
Furthermore, President Trump declared that "he will only accept an agreement that meets all the requirements, including a wall on the border with Mexico," Univisión reported.